Hero truck driver tried to stop speeding Jag on wrong side of highway

2016-10-24 20:26
Zain Small with his certificate of appreciation (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

Zain Small with his certificate of appreciation (Jenna Etheridge, News24)

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Cape Town - The actions of truck driver Zain Small were lauded as heroic on Monday after he tried stopping a drunken motorist who drove into oncoming traffic on the N1 highway in Cape Town.

Had it not been for him trying to get in front of the silver Jaguar, or flashing his bright lights to warn others, lives surely would have been lost, said the city's safety and security mayoral committee member JP Smith.

The errant driver, in his early 70s, travelled at a speed of around 70km/h in the fast lane of oncoming traffic late on Thursday night.

Miraculously, the drama played out on the highway for around 6km without any collisions.

Traffic officials said the man's breathalyser result was 0.69, three times over the legal limit.

"That kind of behaviour comes from a mix of alcohol and testosterone," chirped Smith.

He said Small's bravery was "something you don't see every day".

'I don't know what went through my mind'

Small, 24, an independent distributor for Golden Crust Bakery, blushed at the praise.

He explained how he was driving home to Goodwood on Thursday when he spotted the silver Jaguar just as he got onto the highway.

He had more than two tons of bread in his truck.

Footage from highway cameras showed the truck making a U-turn when it was safe to follow the Jaguar.

"I don't know what went through my mind at that stage but as a Capetonian, and many mistakes in my life, I just decided I need to save this guy and other Capetonians as well," he said.

City officials got a call around 23:15 about a flashy vehicle and a white truck travelling the wrong way.

At first they did not realise the truck was trying to stop the Jaguar, said Smith.

The footage featured a number of hair-raising moments when vehicles narrowly missed hitting the Jaguar, either by swerving or by slowing down in time and changing lanes.

Charges laid

Smith said Small put his life in danger a number of times.

At one point, he managed to get in front of the vehicle and force it to stop.

"I tried to get him to open his windows but he refused and kept on going," said Small while looking at the footage.

During the cat and mouse pursuit, the Jag blew a tyre and later, hit a barrier.

Traffic officials soon closed in on all sides and the vehicle came to a stop. An officer took the car keys away.

The driver was charged with reckless and negligent driving, driving while intoxicated and possession of an unlicenced firearm.

"I am very grateful that I did my part. I was a nervous wreck and fortunately it ended well," said Small.

'Don't drink and drive'

Smith said this was not an isolated incident. Previous accidents such as this had resulted in the deaths of innocent motorists.

With the festive season approaching, Smith warned motorists to be responsible.

Motorists should preferably not drink even one alcoholic beverage when driving as it affected judgement.

"Don't do something that causes us to dispatch 20 traffic officers at you because by the end of that, there are a lot of supporting affidavits that are going to make very sure you will sink when you get to court."

The driver was booked in at Maitland police station and was apparently appearing in court on Monday.

Read more on:    cape town  |  driving  |  crime

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